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Statin Drug Side Effects

High cholesterol levels or hypercholesterolemia is said to play a significant role in heart disease. People with cholesterol levels over 240 mg/dL and LDL levels of over 190 mg/dL are considered to be at risk for coronary heart disease and stroke. People who already have had a heart attack or have cardio-vascular disease are considered to be high-risk patients whose goal should be to have LDL levels of less than 70 mg/dL.

Statin drugs were introduced in the mid-80s and were found to be very good at lowering cholesterol levels. Their use increased exponentially since 1989 and by 1998 accounted for 90% of treatment for hypercholesterolemia. In the beginning statins were prescribed primarily to lower the risk of heart disease but it was found that they also helped to lower blood pressure. Hence statins started being prescribed for hypertension as well. Statins were hailed as a miracle drug of the new millenium and some doctors even thought that statin drugs such as Zocor are a good preventative health tonic that should be taken by anyone.

Statins are now the top-selling drugs in US and the National Institute of Health gave it a fillip in 2004 by revising cholesterol guidelines so that even more people could be prescribed statins. As per CBS news, it was later revealed that most of the NIH experts had financial ties with the statin drug companies.

Recently in July 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines for testing and prescribing children for cholesterol control. They recommended that children afflicted with obesity even as young as 8 years old should be treated with statin drugs.

However the use of statin drugs comes at a price. The most common side effect is the loss of muscle function, muscle pain and cramps. In fact many Lipitor (Atorvastatin) users complain of some loss of muscle function. The problems get exacerbated for older patients (50+) who have complained of debilitating pain to the point that no movement is possible. In some cases severe neuromuscular degeneration has resulted with symptoms similar to multiple sclerosis.

In many instances people also reported loss of memory, brain function and mental fogginess. Damage to the liver and kidney causing liver and kidney dysfunction have also been reported.

A simple search on the internet will pull up websites such as medications.com which lists case after case of patient complaints about the devastating side effects of statin drug side effects. It does not seem to matter which statin it is - Zocor, Lipitor, Mevacor, Crestor - the symptoms seem to be similar.

In a study conducted by researchers at the University of California at San Diego and published in Drug Safety, it was shown that doctors generally ignored or dismissed patients' concerns about statin side effects. The FDA relies heavily on doctors for their reports on side effects. However 90-99% of serious side effects are not reported by doctors. It is therefore all the more important for patients to be vigilant about their own health.

Before taking statin drugs weigh the risks. Use natural methods to reduce cholesterol. Change your diet and your lifestyle.

Herbs such as Guggul and Garcinia are ayurvedic herbs that can help to manage cholesterol levels.

More information on Guggul benefits More articles on Cholesterol

  • Cholesterol - what it is, causes, cholesterol levels, herbal control

  • Lower Cholesterol with Lifestyle Changes

  • Cholesterol raises Dementia risk


    National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

    Center for Medical Consumers article by Dr. Paul Rosch, MD and Dr. Gravelins

    Ref:Cardiovasc Drug Rev. 2007 Winter;25(4):375-90


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